KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
JULY 9, 2018
BOSTON, MASS. AT THE TD GARDEN
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Jonathan Coachman
LIVE POST-RAW PODCAST: Join me with my guest cohost Travis Bryant of the PWTorch East Coast Cast for a live stream call-in show after Raw HERE. We’ll be live around five minutes after Raw ends. Email your comments and questions to email@example.comOR call the show (347) 215-8558.
-They opened with a video package that provided video clips as a backdrop to the verbal exchanges between Bobby Lashley and Roman Reigns last week including some of Lashley’s high points in his ECW, WWE, and MMA/Bellator stints.
-Reigns was shown walking backstage and the crowd booed. He walked into the path of Lashley. Lashley, with his arms crossed, said he is praying he goes out there and calls him out. He said if he does, he’s not coming to talk, but rather to tear him apart. He then smiled and told him to carry on. Reigns stared him down and continued to walk toward the stage. Lashley glimpsed at the camera and then stared off with his arms crossed.
-Reigns’s music played as Cole said emotions are running high. He said Reigns is “one of the most polarizing figures in WWE history.” He said their match at Extreme Rules this Sunday has become extremely personal between two massive egos. Coach said they each believe it is their yard. They showed the announcers standing at the announce desk. Then back to the ring where Lashley looked off into the crowd as his music continued to play. As he often does, Reigns paced in the ring and let the fans “get it out of their systems.”
Reigns began to speak and a new round of boos broke out. He said after this past week, there’s a lot he could be talking about, but he’s “literally” never had anyone stare him in the face and ask for him to call him out. He called him “Bob” again and then called his ass out to the ring. G.M. Kurt Angle told them to save it until Sunday at Extreme Rules. Lashley and Reigns began brawling, despite Angle’s plea. The locker room emptied and they tried to pull them apart. They pushed through and Lashley ended up throwing Reigns back into the ring. He was held back at that point. Coach said this is the fault of Reigns for calling out Lashley. Reigns then did a leaping dive onto a crowd of wrestlers at ringside. He showed fire on the ramp as wrestlers backed him off. Coach said that was incredible. Finn Balor was at the front of the line in trying to hold Reigns back. Reigns’s music played. Cole said the WWE ring isn’t big enough for these two egos, so Sunday at Extreme Rules something has to give. Coach said he loves that it’s personal, not about titles. Just when it seemed it was over, Reigns charged down the ramp again and dove onto Lashley again in a crowd of wrestlers. Lashley fought back. They were separated promptly again and this time Lashley’s music played.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good brawl. This worked. They played to the strengths of each wrestlers and away from their weaknesses, which is awkward “taking turns talking” promos. This also kept Reigns more or less out of the line of fire by the Boston fans since it quickly turned into a long brawl. Reigns getting the big running dive and showing a ton of fire frames him in his best light as an intense star athlete fighting against another wrestler who wants to claim alpha status. Note the subtle reference to Brock Lesnar when he said he has a lot he could talk about after this past week,)
-They cut backstage to Alexa Bliss and Mickie James who were watching on the monitor. Alexa said it’s intense, but it’s nothing compared to the pain and destruction they’re going to bring to Nia Jax and Natalya. [c]
(1) ALEXA BLISS & MICKIE JAMES vs. NIA JAX & NATALYA
Jax and Natalya worked over Mickie early. When Bliss tagged in, Natalya took her down. Bliss regrouped at ringside as they cut to an early break. [c]
Back from the break, Mickie was in control on Natalya. Bliss put Natalya in a hold on the mat as they went to a split-screen with Miz introducing a video package hyping Extreme Rules. Later, Natalya side-stepped a charging Mickie and hot-tagged Jax. Jax aggressively went after Mickie and eventually pinned her after a legdrop.
WINNER: Jax & Natalya in 8:00.
-After the match, Bliss attacked Jax with a kendo stick. Jax grabbed the stick after a few swings and swung it at Bliss. Bliss fled the scene, though. Jax broke the stick over her knee. [c]
-After a replay of the kendo stick attack, Charly Caruso interviewed Jax backstage. Jax said this Sunday she will snap Bliss in half like she did the kendo stick. She said she won’t forget everything Bliss has said about her and the lies she has said to her face.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good showing in the match and on the mic for Jax. Nothing monumental, but good energy and determination headed into Sunday.)
-The announcers then shifted to talking about Kevin Owens and Braun Strowman. Then a video package aired on last week’s porta-potty incident.
-Backstage Angle asked Owens what he’s doing there. Owens said he’s a professional and he shows up for work. He said instead of filing a complaint for an unsafe working environment including the heath code violations the biohazard risk he went through last week, he thought he’d be the bigger man. Angle snickered. Owens revealed a doctor’s note saying he isn’t medically cleared this week. Owens said he’s hanging out the one place he knows he’s safe from Strowman – Angle’s office. He sat down. Angle looked irritated.
-Mojo Rawley made his ring entrance. Coach said, “This is my new guy right here.” [c]
(2) MOJO RAWLEY vs. NO WAY JOSE
The tail end of Jose’s ring entrance took place with his conga line after the break. They showed a family who was upgraded to the front row. Coach talked about how Mojo wants to get the attention of the powers who make PPV matches. He said Graves might give him a hard time saying this, but when Mojo is focused, his power and athleticism reminds him of Lashley. Mojo looked serious and dominant, winning with an Alabama Slam off the corner turnbuckles. He shoved his forearm on Mojo’s face during the three count for an extra dose of nasty intensity.
WINNER: Mojo in 4:00.
-The announcers threw to another therapy session. This time it was with a new female counselor who didn’t say anything, but it was the exact same office with the same friendship poster on the wall. Bayley did all the talking, saying she wants to be friends but Sasha keeps stabbing her in the back. Sasha rolled her eyes and looked the opposite direction like a petulant teenager girl.
(Keller’s Analysis: This was mercifully short, and that’s all that is good about it.)
-Seth Rollins was walking backstage when he came upon Jinder Mahal and Sunil Singh. Jinder said Seth shouldn’t be burning things down, but should be seeking inner peace. Seth mockingly agreed. Jinder bought it and helped Seth with some mantras and deep breaths with his eyes closed. Seth walked away. [c]
-Seth Rollins made his ring entrance. He said the only nickname that matters now is “former IC Champion.” He said he wants to rectify that. He explained the rules of the Iron Man match and took a dig at Drew McIntyre being at Ziggler’s side. He said Dolph Ziggler is great, but he’s “Seth Freakin’ Rollins.” Fans cheered. Ziggler and Drew McIntyre then walked out onto the stage.
Ziggler said more time should be spent talking about how good he is. He told Seth not to be fooled, though, because he’s not just bringing his quickness and agility and rugged good looks “and this psychopath Drew McIntyre” with him, he’s also bringing his IC Title belt. He vowed to still walk out as champion. Fans booed. Drew told Seth it’s not all bad because he’ll still have his little nicknames and he’ll get a glimpse of the “future of this place.” Ziggler said Seth still is one of the greatest wrestlers to ever step foot in that ring. He said he’s no Ziggler, though. He said when it comes to the Iron Man match, he’s so good he may win five to nothing or ten to nothing or 1000 to zero. Seth said he’s been bleaching his hair too long and the peroxide is getting to his brain. He called for physicians. Ziggler said he has some great jokes, but he lost “that one shred of d…” and then he lost his train of thought and the fans jumped on it and booed him for blowing his line. Ziggler paused, then told Seth that given how much he poured into the title made it sweeter to take it out of his hands. He said Seth can’t win an Iron Man match by swinging a sledgehammer or turning over tires or whatever it is he does in a Crossfit gym. He said it’s about beating your opponent over and over so that the scoreboard is so filled with victories, you walk out as champion. Ziggler said back at Kent State University, he racked up so many victories, he was the all-time winningest wrestler.
Seth asked Ziggler if Drew was there at Kent State helping him win. Drew said his resume speaks for itself and he’s going straight to the top. Ziggler said he knows where Drew is going – wherever Ziggler tells him to. Seth asked Drew why he takes orders from Ziggler and lets him lead him around on a leash. Ziggler looked nervous and told Drew not to let Seth get on his nerves. Ziggler then implied back in Scotland that Drew might have had good times with sheep and said, “I hope there are no pictures.” Drew threw off his jacket, but Ziggler held him back. He said Seth has jokes, but that’s all he has. Ziggler said what won’t be funny is when Seth is sitting outside the arena begging to get noticed and take pictures with fans for $5. Drew said if Seth is a man, let’s see how much of a man he is. He challenged him to a fight tonight. Fans cheered and chanted “Yes!” Seth said if he wants a fight, he’s got it. He warned him to be careful because he’s a bad man, imitating a sheep. Drew and Ziggler charged into the ring, and Seth rolled out of the ring and laughed as he backed up to the stage. [c]
-Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel came out to the ring dressed as Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt. They mocked them mid-ring. Then Bray and Matt appeared on the big screen. Matt said the time for fun and games is over. Bray said laughter is contagious, but so is fear. Matt said they’d eat and delete them at Extreme Rules. “Why wait until Sunday when we’re here.” The lights went out, and then Matt and Bray suddenly appeared in the ring with them. Bo and Curtis leaped out of the ring. Cole said they were spooked. Graves said they were “infected by fear.”
(3) MATT HARDY vs. BO DALLAS
Hardy dominated early and knocked Bo to ringside. They cut to an early break. [c]
They brawled at ringside. Matt whipped Bo into the ringside barricade. Coach said Bo might have a couple of broken ribs, “and from what we understand, that’s going around these days.” That’s a reference to Jim Ross suffering a broken rib on Saturday night at the New Japan show when he was knocked backwards out of his chair during a match. When Matt tried to suplex Bo out of the ring, Curtis distracted him. Bray ran up and clotheslined him from behind. Bo then gave Matt a twisting brainbuster type maneuver off of the top rope for the win. Coach said he can’t remember another duo who has started their careers in the ring more successful than B-Team has the last handful of weeks.
WINNER: Bo Dallas in 7:00.
-After the match, Matt and Bray re-entered the ring and went after Curtis and Bo aggressively. They took them both down and then yelled about what will happen on Sunday at Extreme Rules. Cole emphasized that Matt & Bray as a team are difficult to beat, making the point that despite losing in singles matches, Matt & Bray are stronger together.
(Keller’s Analysis: Some pretty basic stuff here, which is fine as it built up the intensity of their match on Sunday.)
-Cole said he had “breaking news” that Drew vs. Seth was on for later.
-Renee Young interviewed Lashley backstage. She asked what his mindset is headed into Extreme Rules. Lashley said he has respect for everyone he steps into the ring with, but he has zero respect for Reigns. He said he doesn’t like the way he walks and talks and that he thinks he’s the sheriff of Raw. He said he doesn’t like that he brings up what he was doing ten years ago. “Enough already,” he said. He said he does like that he’s willing to fight him at Extreme Rules, but he said he will walk to the ring, but he won’t walk out of the ring. “Believe that!” he punctuated at the end.
-Backstage Tyler Breeze handed a Breezango t-shirt to Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan. They tore it up and said they don’t do fashion. [c]
-They showed Bayley and Sasha still in the therapy session bickering. Graves said Angle says “ad nausseum” that on Raw they settle things in the ring. “Just let them fight,” he said. “That will actually help their relationship.” Coach said if they can’t get along, their careers and jobs could be on the line. Huh?
-Cole talked about Ronda Rousey being inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame last week. He said she’s suspended from Raw, but she’ll be ringside for the Jax-Bliss title match on Sunday.
-A selfie soundbite aired with Alexa saying she will enjoy hitting Nia’s flesh with a kendo stick over and over. She said on Sunday, Rousey will be front row and center to see her end Nia for good. She said after Sunday, Nia will call her “Extreme Raw Women’s Champion.” Cole noted her bravado.
(4) EMBER MOON vs. LIV MORGAN (w/Sarah Logan)
After Moon’s flurry of offense, Morgan rolled out of the ring. They cut to a break. [c]
Morgan took over during the break and gave Moon a DDT off the second rope leading to a two count. In the end, Logan distracted Moon which led to Morgan rolling her up for a two count. Moon then rolled up Morgan and got the three count.
WINNER: Moon in 7:00.
-Backstage Renee Young interviewed Finn Balor. Bobby Roode interrupted Balor as he began to answer her first question. Roode teased saying they’d be a glorious team, but instead said they’d be victorious. Then he added that they’d also be glorious. Balor said Constable Corbin will find he’s not half of anything because of his size, but rather he’s twice as a good. He said unlike Corbin, he and Roode like to do their talking in the ring.
-Graves plugged Balor & Roode vs. Corbin & Elias. He misspoke and cracked up and Cole joined him in laughing. Not sure what that was about. [c]
-They proudly showed the exterior of the arena in Boston.
-Backstage Owens told Angle that his office smells and suggested he get a scented candle. Angle said it didn’t stink until KO arrived, so maybe he reeks from the porta-potty. Drew and Ziggler walked in. Angle said if Drew loses, he’ll be banned from ringside on Sunday. Ziggler said that’s arbitrary and ridiculous. KO took exception and protested. Drew said it’s fine because there’s “no way Seth gets through this mountain tonight.”
-Elias sat mid-ring with is guitar. He sang mean things about Boston and compared it to a toilet seat. He said it’s clear fans don’t appreciate him. He said his friend Tom Brady advised him to just pretend to like them. Constable Corbin came out and sang “Itsy Bitsy Spider” poorly. Balor’s ring entrance interrupted him. Then Roode came out next. [c]
(5) FINN BALOR & BOBBY ROODE vs. COSTABLE CORBIN & ELIAS
In the end, Roode hit a spinebuster on Elias. Corbin hit him from behind and gave him the End of Days for the win.
WINNERS: Corbin & Elias.
-Angle revealed to Owens that his match with Strowman on Sunday will be a steel cage match. As Owens protested, Strowman walked in and sprayed him with air freshener and said he “reeks of fear.” Owens coughed and gasped. [c]
-They showed Bayley and Sasha still bickering. Cole said they must report back to Angle next week, “and from the looks of it, the report will not be favorable for one of them.”
-The announcers narrated over highlights of the Roman-Lashley brawl earlier.
-Renee asked Reigns backstage if it was reckless to provoke Lashley like he did just days before Extreme Rules. Reigns said it wasn’t a mistake because he had no respect for Lashley until tonight. He said he saw a fire in his eyes, but he still knows he can’t beat him. He said he is a dog with a killer instinct, so Lashley’s physical tools won’t matter. He said he’s going to beat Lashley “and then move on to bigger and better things.” He said “Bob” is going to “be the guy somewhere else.”
-The announcers on camera hyped the entire Extreme Rules line-up included Smackdown matches.
-Seth Rollins made his ring entrance. [c]
(6) SETH ROLLINS vs. DREW MCINTYRE (w/Dolph Ziggler)
The bell rang 47 minutes into the third hour. Cole talked about Drew’s first run in WWE. He said Drew was known as ‘The Chosen One,” but he was fired when he didn’t think he had to work hard to live up to that name and he now admits he felt entitled back then. He said he is back to show up the locker room this time by picking everyone off. Graves said Drew is a new person this time and seems void of emotions other than anger. Drew grinded away at Seth methodically early. The announcers said Ziggler sent Drew to the ring to wear out Seth going into Sunday. [c]
Back live, Drew fended off a Seth comeback and grounded him again.
Seth began a comeback at the top of the hour, but didn’t get much of a rise from the crowd for some reason. He knocked Drew out of the ring and fired up, then dove through the ropes and tackled Drew. He followed up with a second quick dive through the ropes onto Drew at ringside. Cole did a verbal reset of the show for those who tune in for the overrun. Seth leaped off the top rope with a clothesline and scored a two count. Drew sidestepped a Stomp and then catapulted Seth face-first out of the corner for a near fall. Ziggler stomped the ring apron in frustration. Drew got his feet caught in the top turnbuckle. Seth climbed to the top to apparently stomp him, but Drew sat up and yanked Seth overhead down hard to the mat. The announcers marveled. Graves said, “What can’t Drew McIntyre do tonight?” Drew pounded the mat and then charged, but Seth kicked him and then gave him a Falcon Arrow for a two count. Fans chanted “This is awesome!” Drew blocked a knee strike by Seth and headbutted him and scored a near fall. Drew lifted Seth to the top rope and put him on his shoulders, but Seth slipped free and took Drew out of the corner with a running buckle bomb. Then he superkicked him. Seth climbed to the top rope. Ziggler charged. Seth kicked him. Seth hit Drew with a top rope crossbody for a near fall. Seth then gave Drew a kick to the head and then turned to knock Ziggler off the ring apron. Drew then surprised Seth with a Claymore Kick for the win.
WINNER: McIntyre in 21:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good match. Dramatic final few minutes. A big win for Drew, even with the Ziggler distraction, as it sends the message to fans he’s in for a big push.)